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Atlantic 10 Saturday Preview: 12 teams in action

Game of the Day

George Washington Colonials vs. VCU Rams

George Washington and VCU collide in what should be a matchup for the ages on Saturday. The Rams enter this contest riding a 12 game winning streak. They’ll look to stay undefeated in A-10 play when the Colonials come to town. George Washington is just 2-2 on the road in conference play. VCU will likely be its toughest test to date, though the Colonials did play a very tough road contest against Dayton earlier this season. Sitting near the NCAA Tournament bubble, George Washington would really benefit from a road victory over the leaders in the Atlantic 10. VCU, on the other hand, isn’t quite ready to give up its perfect record in conference play.

This matchup is very interesting because these two teams have different strengths and weaknesses. VCU has gotten great play from its guards this season- Melvin Johnson, JeQuan Lewis, and Korey Billbury are the team’s three leading scorers. George Washington, on the other hand, gets heavy scoring productions from its forwards in Tyler Cavanaugh, Patricio Garino, and Kevin Larsen. The question for this one becomes: who does a better job stopping the opposing teams’ stars? Can the Colonials’ Joe McDonald and Paul Jorgensen hold VCU’s explosive backcourt in check? Can Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tillman take care of GW’s frontcourt? These are certainly things to keep your eyes peeled for on Saturday afternoon.

All in all, this should be a good matchup in Richmond. Whichever team does a better job rebounding the basketball will certainly get an edge on Saturday. The Colonials and the Rams rank 1st and 2nd respectively in the A-10 in terms of offensive rebound percentage. It wouldn’t be surprising to see both teams get a number of second chance points. Whichever team does a better job protecting the basketball and shutting down the opposing team’s scoring threat will likely have the edge on Saturday. Be sure not to miss this one.

Elsewhere in A-10 Action

Davidson Wildcats vs. Duquesne Dukes

Here’s an interesting matchup between two teams that are trending in opposite directions. The Dukes are on the rise, having won their last 3 games. Davidson, on the other hand, has dropped 3 of its last 4. Despite differing strengths of schedules in the past couple weeks, Duquesne has been playing slightly better basketball and will look to keep its winning streak alive on Saturday. Here’s a stat to watch in this game: team turnover percentage. The Dukes rank last in the conference in this category and 214th in the nation. Davidson ranks 1st in the conference and 1st in the nation. If the Wildcats do a significantly better job taking care of the ball, then they might be able to steal a road win over Duquesne. Expect this one to be a battle on Saturday afternoon.

St. Joseph’s Hawks vs. Fordham Rams

The Hawks lost their most recent contest to St. Bonaventure at home, but despite that, they’ve been very successful in conference play. Here’s a cool statistic: St. Joseph’s is 6-0 on the season in true road games. The Fordham Rams are 10-2 at home this season. Something’s going to have to give. While the Rams have found success in Rose Hill Gym, particularly earlier this season, it’s tough to see them rolling past DeAndre’ Bembry and the red-hot Hawks. These two teams met in Philadelphia earlier this season, and Bembry dropped 26 to help lead the Hawks to a dominating 80-55 victory. If Fordham doesn’t do a number on him, it’s tough to see them standing much of a chance against St. Joseph’s.

 Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Richmond Spiders

Here’s a matchup between two teams that could really use a win. Massachusetts is riding a 1-game winning streak into this contest; the only problem? The Minutemen have lost 7 of their last 8. Richmond hasn’t been much better as of late, losing 4 of its last 5. While the Spiders have had some tough games in the past couple of weeks, they got upset at home by George Mason last Wednesday. Both teams are spiraling in the wrong direction. The Minutemen have a tough stretch of games coming up, so they would really benefit from a win here; Kenpom projects them to lose their next four contests, including this one. The Spiders, on the other hand, are projected to make a little bit of a comeback by winning their next three games.

Dayton Flyers vs. George Mason Patriots

The Flyers are ranked in the Top 25, and things couldn’t be much better for Archie Miller’s squad. It’s won its last 6 games and shouldn’t have much trouble winning a 7th on Saturday. That being said, it always seems as if Dayton slips up right when it starts to gain some national recognition. After taking down Vanderbilt earlier this season, the Flyers lost to Chattanooga at home. After finding the rankings for the first time back in the beginning of January, the Flyers lost a very bad game to the La Salle Explorers. While the Flyers should roll in this one, it almost seems as if there’s an upset brewing. George Mason is coming off a huge road win over Richmond and will look to carry its momentum back home against Dayton. Anything can happen on Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia, so don’t sleep on this game.

Rhode Island Rams vs. La Salle Explorers

As coach Hurley stated, Rhode Island’s Kuran Iverson and Jarvis Garrett have been sidelined with injuries for an undetermined period of time. Whether or not we see the two of them take the court on Saturday is still up in the air; the status of each player seems to be on a day-to-day basis. Without the two starters in the lineup, the Rams are losing a significant portion of their scoring; they were unable to get much offense going against Massachusetts last Tuesday night. In the scenario that these two players are out yet again, Jared Terrell and Four McGlynn will need to step it up to beat La Salle. While the Explorers haven’t had much to show for this season, they proved themselves quite a bit when they took down Dayton earlier this year. Though Rhode Island should be able to get the win, this one could be closer than expected.